The Ever-Evolving Customer Shopping Journey

Sep 15, 2016

e-commerce mobile

Smart phones and  mobile devices have completely changed the way we shop and make buying decisions. A decade ago, the shopping experience looked something like this: shoppers would either go online, browse a catalog, or walk the store aisles for inspiration. They might end up making their purchase in the store or online, but for the most part they interacted with the channels independently.

The rapid adoption of mobile technology has changed this picture forever. It's true that consumers still browse catalogs, shop online and visit their favorite stores, but it now needs to be an omnichannel experience. In other words, today's consumers what to shop and have a consistent experience with your business across all channels and devices. 

Let's take a look at some data Google has gathered on this subject:

  • Six in 10 internet users start shopping on one device but continue or finish on a different one,1 
  • 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they're about to make in a store.2

They get ideas, look up information, and make decisions, all from their smartphone anytime, anywhere.

How Mobile is Shaping Retail Industry Trends

Simply put, mobile is driving local—and it's making store visits more valuable. According to ShpperTrak 2015 holiday, U.S. retail sales, Foot traffic in retail stores has declined by 57% in the past five years.And MasterCard SpendingPulse 2010-2015, U.S.retail sales report that the value of every visit has nearly tripled.4

Increasingly, consumers are becoming more comfortable making purchases from their mobile devices and according to Google, 34% of online retail purchases now happen on mobile devices.

Last and certainly not least, it's worth mentioning that 65% of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing the information.

Mobile Micro-Moments are Changing the Rules

The bottom line is that:
  • Consumers no longer want to interact with brands differently based on the channel or device.
  • The customer journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments along each stage of the sales funnel.
  • Each interaction, or micro-moment is an intent-driven moment used to gather information, visit businesses, and to make purchase decisions. 
Micro-moments are the critical touch-points within today’s consumer journey, think about how often you reach for your smartphone during the day to complete a common task, such as: I want to know, I want to go, I want to buy, and I want to do moments. Retailers need to be innovative, understand their customers, and deliver content that helps

  • Be there. Identify, anticipate and commit to “being there” when the micro-moments for your industry occur.
  • Be usefulMake sure you’re relevant to the consumers’ needs in that moment and connect people to the content that answers their questions.
  • Be quick. Mobile users want to know, go, and buy quickly—make sure your mobile experience is fast and frictionless.
This also means that retailers need to consider implementing a personalized marketing and merchandising strategy to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

1 Google/Ipsos Connect, GPS omnibus, U.S. online respondents 18+, n=2,013, Mar. 2016.
2 Google/Ipsos, Consumers in the Micro-Moment, U.S., n=5,398 based on internet users, Mar. 2015.

3 ShopperTrak 2015 holiday, U.S. retail sales.
4 MasterCard SpendingPulse 2010–2015, U.S. retail sales.
5 Google Analytics, retailer aggregated data, U.S., Mar. 2016.